Business, Society and Nature

Contact Person: Anna Heikkinen, email:


To meet the urgent social and environmental challenges of sustainable development, research on how to bridge the gap between economy and society is needed. Addressing and adopting sustainability in business has both practical and theoretical challenges; addressing complex sustainability issues requires collaboration with various stakeholder and knowledge that might not be ordinarily found in companies existing repertoire or experience (e.g. Clarke & Roome 1999, Loorbarch et al. 2010). In addition, there is an urgent need for theorising on how business organisations and professionals can engage with sustainability (e.g. Starik & Kanashiro 2013). In this track, we are interested in how business organisation, society and nature interact and collaborate for sustainable development as well as in challenges and opportunities of such interaction. Specifically, this track focuses on how current and future challenges related to physical, social and also cultural changes in society are perceived and attended to in organisations.


We invite paper presentations offering novel and critical insights into the relations and intercourses that arise in business, society and nature interactions. We welcome both theoretical and empirical paper presentations and a variety of methodological choices. The topics of interest for this track include, but are not limited to:


  • business, society and nature relations
  • corporate sustainability and sustainable development in organisations
  • climate change engagement and management in organisations
  • business-stakeholder interaction
  • nature as a stakeholder
  • value creation in business-stakeholder-nature interactions
  • ethical aspects of business, society and nature relations

Track organisers: Dr. Anna Heikkinen, University of Tampere, Finland; Dr. Sarah Williams, University of Bedfordshire Business School, UK; Associate professor Johanna Kujala, University of Tampere, Finland



Business and Human Rights

Contact Person: Bjørn Fasterling, email:

The background to this track is the recent development of the management of human rights by business enterprises that take into account the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

We invite proposals of research that deal with a subject in the field of business and human rights. This can be work that analyses managerial practice of implementing human rights respect, or a study that critically examines the theoretical underpinnings of the "corporate responsibility to respect" paradigm. We invite research from any academic discipline. We are interested in business ethics research that addresses the moral dimensions of human rights responsibilities of business enterprises and their agents as well as the organizational, political and regulatory frameworks that shape external and internal conceptions of how firms can or should address their impact on human rights.


This track forms the first meeting of the newly founded EBEN Special Interest Group on Business and Human Rights.


Track organizers (the current members of the EBEN Special Interest Group):
Kristian Alm, BI Oslo (EBEN Scandinavia)
Karin Buhmann, CBS Copenhagen (EBEN Scandinavia)
Dorothee Baumann-Pauly,  (EBEN Europe)
Jacob Dahl Rendtorff (EBEN Scandinavia)
Geert Demuijnck, EDHEC Business School (EBEN France)
Björn Fasterling, EDHEC Business School (EBEN France)
Carmen Márquez-Carrasco, University of Sevilla (EBEN Spain)
Olga Martin-Ortega, University of Greenwich (EBEN Europe)



Business Ethics & Psychology

Contact Person: Julian Clarke, email:


'Can a Corporation have a Conscience?' is a question EBEN Ireland posed at its 2013 conference. When moral reasoning and integrity epitomises the deliberations of leaders, business ethics issues may be less likely to arise. But when the Tone at the Top challenges the conscience of employees, is 'self-interest' too facile an answer?


Should we be further examining the psychology of those most responsible for an adverse Corporate Culture? What are the consequences of some leaders lacking the capacity to reason morally?

Stanley Milgram's 1960s "Behavioural Study of Obedience" and subsequent research found that a majority are capable of blindly obeying authority in their midst. While some leaders exploit fear and distrust, many others inculcate a more positive, inclusive and trusting environment.


Could business ethics failures be due to leaders displaying what psychologists term 'consistent irresponsibility', capable of routinely acting against the common good and doing so with emotional impunity?


When organisations are criticised for 'lack of accountability and transparency', should we be further considering the psychology of leaders incapable of acknowledging responsibility for either their decisions or outcomes?


Should 'business ethicists' accept a greater responsibility to provide appropriate guidance to business people? By assisting them recognise relevant characteristics in their leaders can we better support their attempts to facilitate conscience prevailing over obedience?


Should we be considering an EBEN Special Interest Group on Business Ethics & Psychology?



Professional Business Ethics & Soft Skills for Engineering & Management Field

Contact Person: Hardeep Singh, email:


The focal objective of the track on “Professional Business Ethics & Soft Skills for Engineering & Management Field” is to discuss about the business ethics, business etiquettes and soft skills required in Engineering and Management field through the ages. This track aims to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results about all aspects of the track title. It also provides a forum for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss the most recent business ethics, etiquettes and the soft skills adopted in the field of Engineering & Management. This will provide a forum for the interaction and integration in these related disciplines.


  • Professional Business Ethics for Engineers
  • Business Etiquettes for Marketing and HR Professionals
  • Role of Soft Skills and Professional Ethics for a Successful Career
  • Business Ethics and Customer Attraction
  • IT Field and Professional Etiquettes
  • Soft Skills and Successful Marketing
  • Business Ethics and Online Marketing
  • Role of Professionalism in Training & Development
  • Business Ethics, Etiquettes, Soft Skills and Marketing Management
  • Professionalism-E-Governance / M-Governance & its Issues
  • Professional Business Ethics for E-business and E-Commerce
  • Soft Skills for IT Manager and Marketing Manager for Development of Organization
  • Alignment of Business and IT Security Efforts
  • IT Training and Its International perspective
  • Emerging Business Ethics and Etiquettes for a Successful Professionals
  • Soft Skills must for a Bright Career
  • Business Ethics and Finance Managers
  • Professionals Ethics, Etiquettes and CAs
  • Business Ethics and Etiquettes for Successful Leaders

The scope of this session is related to the above given topics but not limited to these. Papers about other business ethics areas are also welcome. The researchers/authors are open to send papers apart from the above topics related to the session area.



The Social Contract Tradition as a Philosophical Foundation of Business Ethics

Contact Person: Pedro Francés-Gómez, email:


Track justification and aim
Ben Wempe wrote, back in 2005, that “Publications under the heading of a social contract for business add up to something like a genuine tradition” (Wempe 2005, p. 114). Edward Freeman (1994) adopted this tradition of thought as the normative core of stakeholder theory. The conception of the ethical duties of management as derived from a hypothetical or tacit agreement among relevant stakeholders is popular at least since the pioneering work by Donaldson (1982). And most scholars reflecting on the normative foundations of ethically responsible management are driven to the discussion of the idea of a social contract of business (Mansell 2013).

The characteristics of the social contract approach to the foundation of norms cohere with the foundational problems of corporate ethics. Lütge (2012) affirms that the ‘attractiveness’ of contractarianism as a philosophical foundation of business ethics resides in two main reasons: (i) it requires comparatively weak normative presuppositions; (ii) it tries to derive morality out of self-interest, and with the help of economics. Some of the more developed social-contract accounts of the core norms of business ethics (prominently Sacconi 2000, 2006 and 2007) are elaborated by bridging the interdisciplinary gap between philosophy and economics.


The purpose of this Special Track should be to bring together those European business ethicists who take any of the branches of the social contract tradition as a reference. The tradition is quite diverse, and its use produces widely divergent views of business ethics –from the Kantian heirs of Habermas’s discourse theory, to the radically Hobbesian proposals of Order Ethicists. However, there is a common language that hopefully allows for a fruitful discussion on the social contract as the philosophical foundation of business ethics.

Donaldson, T. (1982). Corporations and Morality. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.
Lütge, C. (2012). The Idea of a Contractarian Business Ethics. Handbook of the Philosophical Foundations of Business Ethics. Springer.
Mansell, S. F. (2013). Capitalism, Corporations and the Social Contract. A Critique of Stakeholder Theory (p. 185). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sacconi, L. (2000). The Social Contract of the Firm. Economics, Ethics and Organization, Berlin, Springer.
Sacconi, L. (2006). “A Social Contract Account for CSR as Extended Model of Corporate Governance (I): Rational Bargaining and Justification”, Journal of Business Ethics, 68: 259-281. DOI: 10.1007/s10551-006-9014-8.
Sacconi, L. (2007). “A Social Contract Account for CSR as Extended Model of Corporate Governance (II): Compliance, Reputation and Reciprocity”, Jornal of Business Ethics, 75: 77-96. DOI: 10.1007/s10551-006-9239-6.
Wempe, B. (2005). In Defense of a Self-disciplined, Domain-specific Social Contract Theory of Business Ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly, 15(113-135).



Freedom of Expression and Whistle Blowing

Contact Person: Mark Brown, email:


In recent years the idea and practice of freedom of expression has become a hot topic in the political arena and the cause of spilt blood in several tragic events. In common with many nations, Norwegians’ right to freedom of expression is enshrined in the constitution of 1814 in which paragraph 100 contains the famous clause “Ytringsfrihed bør finde Sted.” As recently as 1999 the Sejersted Commission proposed that this should be further strengthened, emphasising that Norway “should be an open society in which the individual has the freedom to express her/himself as well as to be informed” (NOU 1999: 27, p. 3 – authors’ translation). In a business context, one important concern is how to balance the constitutional right that employees have as citizens, with the legitimate interests of the corporation.

In this track, we are interested in exploring how freedom of expression plays out in a business’s organizational context. The most high profile examples of freedom of speech in a business context are those characterised as whistle blowing; situations in which an employee has been so concerned by some aspect of business practice as to report it to an external agent – often media or even police. However, the way in which freedom of speech plays out, is compromised or perhaps even suppressed, in the day-to-day operation of different businesses covers a much wider area of organizational practice. Where is the line between an employee’s loyalty to the corporation and (the same person as) citizen’s free expression of opinion? This potential conflict could be addressed either by descriptive or normative approaches to interpreting the behaviour of the corporation.


Taking inspiration from Enlightenment ideas of knowledge acquisition and Habermas’ idea of communicative rationality – for example – it is possible to argue that the corporation can benefit from a free exchange of ideas. The prospects for acquiring a sound understanding of the environment within which the business operates will be improved, if different voices are allowed to offer their individual reading of reality. Through this free meeting of ideas, runs the argument, the best ones will win out. Within the organization, employees will daily find themselves in situations in which they hold potentially useful information and must decide whether to speak up and share it with others. This dilemma has attracted the interest of researchers from various disciplines in the social sciences, humanities and economics.


We invite paper presentations exploring this issue. We welcome both theoretical and empirical paper presentations and a variety of methodological choices. The topics of interest for this track include, but are not limited to:


  • Whistle blowing
  • Freedom of expression in an organizational context
  • Business and public debate
  • Normative foundations of freedom of expression
  • Self-censorship and organizational climate
  • Corporate governance and the internal public of the corporation
  • Corporate citizenship and ethical guidelines
  • Trust, freedom of expression and the corporation
  • Social media, digitalization and global speech
  • Gender, society and the corporation
  • Post financial crisis: public confidence and the reputation of the corporation

Track organisers:
Dr. Kristian Alm, BI Norwegian Business School, Norway & Dr. Mark Brown, BI Norwegian Business School, Norway


Online Resources for Teaching Business Ethics
Contact person: Johannes Brinkmann, email:


This track is intended as very first face to face meeting for an EBEN Special Interest Group which has been formed under this label. There exists an agreed-on statement which can be quoted:

“The special interest group will invite collecting and then sharing of Online resources for teaching and learning business ethics, such as business ethics case presentations, introductory lectures or textbooks which can be accessed online, in the internet. The SIG also serves as an exchange platform on how new materials (other than those mentioned previously), approaches, and techniques can be incorporated into online teaching business ethics.


Our point of departure is a joint paper (presented at the EBEN Lisbon RC 2014) which suggests such a SIG, with a focus on experience-sharing, collaboration across different European languages and cultures (as we see it, language and cultural differences inside European business ethics are under-addressed and under-discussed, and that we should increase the legitimacy of going more bi-lingual or tri-lingual or multi-lingual)…”

Contributions within such a framework are invited, but active listeners without papers are welcome, too, both to the track meeting and to further collaboration in this group.


For submitting abstracts and/or for further information and briefing before the Copenhagen conference feel free to contact Hans Jörg or Johannes, or


Copenhagen Business School (CBS) - Solbjerg Plads 3 - 2000 - Frederiksberg - +45 38153815